“Damn it, Eirlys! Wait up!” Ethon shouted at me from about fifty feet back.
“Catch up!” I yelled back as I hammered my Ice into the mountain, trying to concentrate on the vertical cliff that we were climbing. I lost my footing and Ethon had to dodge the falling rocks, “Sorry!”
“Be careful!” He yelled at me.
I grabbed onto the ledge and pulled myself up into the cave in the face of the mountain. I used the hammer to create the anchor point. Ethon pulled himself into the cave and gave me the look. I hated the look, because it usually meant that I screwed something up. “Yes, my darling?” I asked innocently.
“Why are we climbing this mountain?”
“There’s a vault that no one has opened yet. I’m hoping that we’ll find something for Mikala to sell in the store. Also, I heard the view is awesome.”
“Why aren’t we using the trail?” He asked just as innocently.
“Because Erick and Era are using the trail and I want to beat them.”
“They don’t sell things to Mikala to sell.” He looked confused.
“Noooo… But Era wants to furnish the palace for Enki’s inauguration. She’s hoping to find something that can put her above me in Enki’s favorite’s list.”
“Doesn’t she know that he sees you as his daughter and her as an equal?”
I shook my head, “Nope, but that’s why I gotta beat her. That was a long enough break; ready to continue?”
“Why don’t I lead?” He asked as he stood up.
“Because last time you led, we fell off a mountain because you forgot to put an anchor in.”
He grinned, “We landed in soft powder.”
“Only because I created it right before we hit the ground.” I mumbled, but it was no use. He was already climbing up the mountain. “Hey!” I yelled as hung from two handholds.
“What? I’m trying to concentrate!” He watched me warily as I walked towards him.
“I know. I just wanted to say that I can see your sexy abs.” I leaned up and kissed him.
He let go of the ledge and landed back into the cave. He grabbed me and pulled me farther away from the entrance of the cave. “You know, at dawn, this cave will see a great view as well.”
“I don’t know… The stories about the top of this cliff say that it’s the most extraordinary thing that you will ever see in your life.”
“They don’t wake up to you every morning.” He kissed my neck and bit into the base of my neck softly.
We both heard a whistle as Mikala stood there with her hands on her hips. “We weren’t doing anything!” I said to her quickly. She chastised me with her eyes. “We weren’t going to go farther than where we were at. We promised Enki that we would wait until we were married and we won’t get married until after his inauguration so that he could see.” She gave me a look that she almost did not believe me. I changed the subject, “So, whatcha doing here?” She pointed up. “What do you mean that they beat us?!” She nodded as she outstretched her hand to the two of us. I held onto Ethon as Mikala and my fingertips barely touched.
We arrived at the top of the mountain just as Era and Erick reached the top. Mikala gave me a two finger salute as she vanished. “You cheated!” Era pointed accusingly.
I pointed to myself, “Who? Me? Cheat? Never.”
Ethon was about to say something, but I kicked him into silence. He changed his words quickly, “So, what have you heard about the view?” He asked Era.
“View?” She looked confused. “We’re here because Erick and Eirlys are going to try to make it rain and snow. This just happened to be the highest peak in the region.”
“So, Eirlys is a liar and a cheater.” He looked pointedly at me and I just gawked at him.
I crossed my arms, “Enki’s mountain has views, so I assumed that this one had some too. Sorry for trying to spread the beauty to other people.”
Erick saved me, “Did you hear what Enki’s first duty as President is going to be?”
We all shook our heads, “We wouldn’t tell me.” I admitted.
“He’s granting freedom to those who are still slaves and amnesty for those who have escaped captivity. He is also enlisting the help of the elves to rebuild the forests to help clean the air. The sprites have offered their services as electricity creators to service the different regions.”
“That reminds me!” I pulled out the vial the sprites had given me for saving their Queen. I handed it to Era, “I know you were looking for a present for Enki and this is supposed to stop Death and extend someone’s life for another ten years. If Enki does well as President, then he will want that to spend his days with Mikala.”
Ethon pulled me closer to him, “I never got to ask, but how did you meet Mikala?”
I looked at the ground, causing Erick and Era to listen in closely. “Well, you see…” I took a breath, “It was my first job, finding her. I bumbled through the entire job, but somehow found her. She was a Songbird in the neighboring region. Songbirds are very rare and special. They have beauty voices that can carry the wary to safety or to their doom and look like angels. Mikala was even more special than normal, because she also had her teleport, tracker and telepathy magic.”
I sighed, “When I found her, she took off and I kept having to chase her until finally she stopped running. She asked me why I wanted her and I told her it was for a job. She laughed at me, just laughed and laughed. The client had given me a rope that could bind a Songbird. I caught her foot in it and finally caught her after months of playing chase.”
I stopped, not wanting to go further into this part, but knew that they expected to hear the entire story. “I brought her back to the client and before I knew what was happening, he cut her tongue out.”
Era gasped in horror and Ethon just looked at me. Erick prompted me to continue, “It’s okay… What happened next?”
“I went cold and it wasn’t until later that I realized how I splattered him all over the walls in rage. He wanted her just to cut her tongue out because she refused to sing for him. I took her to a healer who could only seal the wound.” I felt warm tears falling from my eyes. “I told her how sorry I was and that if I would have known, then I would have never taken her to him.” I sobbed to myself, trying to find the words that I needed to tell. “She forgave me. Even after what he did to her, she forgave me because she knew that I didn’t know. Before I could stop her, she cut her own wings off and the healer stopped the bleeding.”
I opened my palm, showing them the cut that ran from the base of my hand to the tip of my middle finger. “After she healed and we left the healer’s house she told me that I owed her. She was right and she pulled a knife out. I thought she was going to cut my tongue as retribution to what she had been through, but she cut me from my palm to the tip. She mirrored the cut on her hand and shook my hand. Our blood combined, attaching her powers into me. She could find me wherever I was, even if she couldn’t reach me. From then on, whenever she needed something done, I was the one she came to.”
I closed my hand tightly, before relaxing more, “As time passed, she saw that I would never take jobs that would hurt those who were innocent. She even tested me a few times, but never once did I hurt another person who did not deserve it. So, she became less cold to me and we became friends.”
I looked up to the three of them, “And that’s all I have to say about that. It’s over and in the past and I regret it every day since then that I was the reason she was hurt. Of all of the blood on my hands, hers is the only one that I truly feel guilt for. The rest of the people I’ve hurt or killed were because they deserved it or they asked it of me.”
I looked at the edge of the cliff and grabbed onto Ethon’s shirt. He looked over and I heard him gasp in excitement. The other two looked and I saw their eyes light up. The sun was rising over the far off horizon and we could see the clouds that were dissipating in its power. Erick stood up and held his hand to me, “Ready, little sister?”
I grabbed his hand and he pulled me up. “I’m always ready.” We both walked to the highest part of the mountain peak. I took off my jacket as Ethon and Era opened the umbrellas that I had found in a vault. I pointed my forefinger straight into the air just as Erick did. We both poured out power into the sky, creating dark clouds, fat with raindrops and snow flurries. We kept pushing and pushing our power into the sky until it blocked out the sun with our clouds.
Erick stopped pushing his power into the clouds, not wanting to completely drain his magic. I had no such reservations, so I continued to add more and more snow clouds. I saw something shiny out of the corner of my eye and stopped adding my power. I ran over it, finding a metal vase.
I tried to wipe the dirt off of it, but it rattled and shook in my hands. I fell backwards, dropping the vase on the ground in front of me. A tall green male with a pencil mustache and a thin beard grew out of the smoke pouring out of it. “Who dares disturbs my sleep?” His voice was deep and rumbling.
I looked back to the others, but they were frozen in time. I looked back to the giant male who was staring down at me. “Sorry, I didn’t know I was disturbing your slumber. I’m usually cranky too when someone wakes me up.”
He bent down closer to me, “You have three wishes, so, think of them quickly and carefully.” He handed me three large colored stones.
I knew two wishes that I wanted, but looking back at the other Elementals, I did not know what I wanted my third wish to be. “Sir, I would like my friend Mikala to have her tongue and wings reattached in their appropriate spots. She has suffered for too long and I can’t rectify the mistake from long ago without help.”
He scratched his chin, “A wish for a friend…?”
I nodded, handing him the first stone, “She needs to be whole again. Even if she forgave me, I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for her suffering.”
He clapped his hands together, “Wish granted.” I watched as sparks appeared between his hands and a figure of Mikala rise from his palms before disappearing in a flash of light. “What is your next wish?”
I looked at the Earth. “I wish the Earth, the plants, and the animals were as they were before this Nuclear Winter started. Humans created this mess and why should those who are innocent undergo pain because of our thoughtlessness.”
He looked at me, not sure if he heard me correctly, “A wish for the planet to be whole?”
“Yes, sir.” I handed him the second stone.
I watched as his hands circled and I saw the shapes of birds, foxes and bears, along with other animals between his hands. He raised them up, the circle growing and increasing until it was a huge sphere of life. He slammed the ball into the ground and I watched as grasses formed under my feet.
“Your last wish?” He asked curious on what this strange mortal would ask for next.
I thought hard and could not think of anything else that I wanted or needed. I handed the final stone to the large green male.
He looked at the stone then to me, “You never told me your wish.”
“That’s because that one belongs to you. I have everything that I wanted and that could help those who needed it.” I smiled. “That wish is yours for whatever you choose. I hope that it will be enough for anything you wanted.”
The large male grabbed my hand and pulled me off the ground. “No one has given me this before. I do not know what to wish for.”
I gave him the best answer I could, “What’s your deepest desire? The one that has given you hope throughout the time that you have been on this earth. We all have those desires and some never get to have them fulfilled.”
He looked at me, “Your wishes were used for others.”
“That’s because the thing I wanted most was for a family.” I pointed to the people frozen in time behind me, “That’s what they are. I’ve learned that family isn’t always about blood, and sometimes, it’s not even about love. Take the female over there. We bicker about everything, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t help her when she needs it or that she will turn her back on my when I truly need her assistance.”
He looked at the stone in his hand and I watched as he closed his eyes. In a flash of light, a normal sized male was standing in front of me. “I’ve seen the millennia change many times and I have grown tired of watching the world pass me by.” He grabbed my forearm and I gripped his in return. “Thank you.” He vanished from where he stood.
Time unfroze for the rest of the group and they all looked at me weirdly. I grinned, “Yes…?”
Era looked at the ground and saw the grass and the moss that was one the rocks. Ethon looked at the ground then to me then back at the ground. “What did you do?!” He stood up and walked over to me.
“Well, you see… There was this djinn and he granted me three wishes. My first was for Mikala and my second was for the Earth.”
“A djinn?” Era asked skeptically.
“Yup.” I answered.
“What about your third wish?” Erick asked me, curious.
“I gave it back to him.”
“You did what?!” Era and Ethon exclaimed.
“I could have wished for fame and fortune!” Era whined.
“I could have asked for a harem of beautiful ladies!” Ethon cried aloud.
I punched Ethon in the arm hard. “That’s not how it works.”
Erick looked thoughtful, “If I remember correctly, djinns twist the wishes of their owners if they asked for things that are selfish. Because you did it for others and especially giving him the final wish, you avoided that part of the wish process.”
I heard a whistle from the cliff edge and saw Mikala floating there with her wings. I ran to the edge of the cliff, careful not to slip. I bit my lip, “Did he do it? Did he make you whole?”
Her melodic voice answered me, “Yes, but more importantly, you need to see what he did with the Earth. There are birds! Real ones that tweet and sing and butterflies and things I’ve only seen in books!” She did a flip in the air before grabbing my hand. Ethon grabbed my other, Era grabbed his and Erick finished the line of people. She teleported us to the inauguration ceremony for Enki.